‘Football badboy’ Jermaine Pennant appeared on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain as stories from his book Mental: Bad Behaviour, Ugly Truths and the Beautiful Game, emerge in the press.
After writing about his Arsenal friend Ashley Cole’s marriage to singer Cheryl , Jermaine, who is rumoured to be entering the Celebrity Big Brother house next week, admitted his friends have called him out for exposing their sensational secrets.
In an extract from his book, Jermaine claimed that Cheryl and former husband Ashley first started dating while the footballer still had a girlfriend, and she was even locked out of his flat while the England star and Girls Aloud singer enjoyed a date.
Asked on GMB why he’s shared such stories, Jermaine explained: ‘We was, still are, close friends.
At that time… I’m just being honest and truthful and I’m sharing all the experiences I’ve been through.’
‘I almost lost friendship because of it. It came out in the press, there’s only a handful of people who knew, they all seemed to put it on me.’
‘I’m always the easy target, they kind of blamed it on me and I was furious and almost fell out with my friend Jermaine Winter and Ashley Cole over it, and I said, “Look it’s nothing to do with me” and I just thought I wanted to share that experience.’
He added: ‘It’s not like I’m coming out of the woodwork and exposing…’.
Jermaine blames his reckless behaviour on both his tough upbringing with his drug dealer father and his unfulfilling start in his youth career at Arsenal, which saw him move away from Nottingham down to London at the age of 16.
Asked how he feels about that period of his life now, he said: ‘When I look back now it’s something I’m not proud of.
Being, at 16, labelled the next ‘wonderkid’ and then making your first debut at 21… a long period not to get your chance.’
‘A lot of big frustrations started to kick in, not having my family around me not having my close friends at the time trying to help me out. I had no one to turn to, so that was my way of dealing with it emotionally.’
‘It was a big thing to take on, it was difficult you know because I was homesick as well. I was missing my friends. I travelled back every weekend, I was never really settled in London.’
‘Obviously it’s great to have money and be financially secure and support your family and whatnot, but the stress that you get when you’re not playing, the stress it takes on your family, you come home and you’re miserable.’
‘A lot of players are coming out and saying everyone thinks we’ve got it easy, but the mental side of it is very difficult, and if you’re not a strong person you can break easily.’
Jermaine has been surrounded by rumours this week that he has signed up to the new series of Celebrity Big Brother, but refused to confirm the news on GMB, smiling as he said:
‘They’re just probably rumours, I don’t know of yet. They may be rumours. I enjoy television, so if that opportunity does arise it’s something I wouldn’t shy away from.’
There are claims that Jamie’s footballer pals will attempt to gag him to stop him revealing their secrets on the Channel 5 reality show if he does enter the house.
‘Jermaine is like a loose cannon. He’ll say whatever he wants in the Big Brother house and it is freaking people out,’ a source told The Sun.
‘He could risk all his A-list friendships if he talks about what went on, both in and out of the football dressing room.’ MailOnline has contacted Jermaine’s representative for comment.
Jermaine Lloyd Pennant was born in Nottingham on January 15, 1983. Pennant’s mother died from cancer when he was three and in an interview with the media said that he moved around with his father, noting: ‘I didn’t have a stable dad back then’.
In 1999, at the age of one, Pennant was signed by Arsenal from Notts County for £2 million, making him the most expensive teenage footballer in Britain at the time.
However, Pennant struggled at the club, only making his Premier League debut in 2002 and ultimately leaving the club in 2005 having only made 12 league appearances.
‘Arsene never quite gave me the opportunity. That was frustrating but Arsène is very strict and if your attitude is not right he won’t give you that chance.
At the same time that was half the reason why my attitude wasn’t always right. I was spot-on for months. I was playing well for the reserves but it was like he’d lost faith in me,’ he said.
Pennant moved to Birmingham for £3 million in 2005, but moved again, this time to Liverpool, after Birmingham got relegated down to the Championship at the end of the 2005/06 season.
Liverpool paid £6.7 million for Pennant in 2006, signing him on a four-year deal. After a strong start to his career at the Kop—Pennant played in the 2007 Champions League Final against AC Milan —Pennant said a stress fracture in his second season saw him sit out three months, after which he ‘struggled to get back into the team’.
In January 2009, Pennant went on loan to Portsmouth and following his return to his parent club in July of that year, he became a free agent after Liverpool decided not to offer him a new contract.
Pennant moved to Spanish club Real Zaragoza but only played until February 2010, after which he was reprimanded by the coach for turning up late to training three times. He never played for Zaragoza again.
He was loaned to Stoke in August 2010, which was made permanent at the end of December.
He went on to play for Stoke in the 2011 FA Cup Final and featured in the club’s Europa League run the following season.
However, his Stoke career came to an end after he struggled to make the team during the 2012/13 season, moving to Wolves on an emergency loan in october 2012.